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‘Riverdale’ Boss Teases the Return of the Black Hood, Exploring Cheryl’s Sexuality

If you thought you’d seen the last of the Black Hood on “Riverdale,” you should think again. The mystery of the masked menace with green eyes is not quite over yet as Archie (KJ Apa), Veronica (Camila Mendes), Betty (Lili Reinhart), Jughead (Cole Sprouse), and the rest of the gang head into the homestretch of season 2.

“We always knew it wasn’t going to be just Mr. Svenson the janitor,” said executive producer Roberto Aguirre-Sacasa at the Paley Center for Media’s PaleyFest panel in Hollywood on Sunday.

“When we started the season we had three likely suspects. So for the first half of the season, as we were writing it, we were always dropping red herrings so we could pick,” Aguirre-Sacasa continued. “And as we moved into the second half and when we get back to the Black Hood in the last couple of episodes, we have a pretty clear idea [of who it is] and we’ve been writing towards that.”

Joining Aguirre-Sacasa on the panel were fellow executive producers Greg Berlanti and Jon Goldwater, as well as members of the cast including Apa, Mendes, Reinhart, Sprouse, Madelaine Petsch, Ashleigh Murray, Marisol Nichols, Madchen Amick, Skeet Ulrich and Luke Perry.

Riverdale” fans were treated to a screening of the upcoming musical episode, “Chapter Thirty-One: A Night to Remember,” where Kevin Keller (Casey Cott) directs his friends and Alice Cooper (Amick), in a production of “Carrie.”

Most of the cast members sing except for Jughead, who serves as the musical’s videographer. “I don’t know how Cole [Sprouse] gets out of it every single time,” joked Apa.

Mendes told Variety: “All the stories within the musical parallel the stories within the episode. And then the ending is really intense and reminds you exactly what ‘Riverdale’ is.”

Another storyline that takes center stage in the latter half of the season involves Cheryl Blossom (Petsch) struggling for her mother to accept her sexuality.

“I think it is something she’s known for a long time and her mom pushed down about her and hated about her that has made Cheryl hate herself because her mom doesn’t love her,” Petsch said at the panel. “And Toni [Topaz] is really helping her explore that love for herself in a really beautiful, amazing relationship that is TBD.”

Aguirre-Sacasa noted that Cheryl’s interest in women was “something we talked about early on.” And though it took a while to get to the storyline, “it was something we talked about when we introduced the character of Toni Topaz, who was bisexual.” He teased that in the upcoming episode airing March 28, the buildup for Toni (Vanessa Morgan) and Cheryl’s relationship will come to fruition.

Murmurings of a relationship between FP Jones (Ulrich) and Alice will be stirred again soon, too. “We’ve gotta set an example,” Ulrich remarked.

Ulrich also hinted that filling out the roles of the rest of the Jones clan. Jughead’s mom and sister Jellybean have yet to be cast but “is definitely in the future” of the show.

Additionally, Betty’s “dark side” also won’t be fading away anytime soon, and neither will her mysterious brother Chic (Hart Denton).

“We just finished the season finale, and it’s still a conversation that happens in the coming episodes,” Reinhart told Variety. “Her personality has these little anxieties. She does self-harm, unfortunately, and it’s a journey that’s not going to be wrapped up in a pretty little bow at the end of the season. It’s something she’s going to carry with her.”

Audiences will also uncover more about Chic by season’s end, including an upcoming scene Reinhart and Sprouse are looking forward to with the three of their characters that Reinhart promises will prove, “Jughead is a bada– in season two. Just wait.”

“Riverdale” airs Wednesdays at 8 p.m. on the CW.

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